Royal Society Industry Fellow
As Principal Consultant, Dr Xiang Zhang heads the Division of Medical Materials and Devices at Lucideon. The Division has been working on a number of pioneering projects in the area of controlled release technology, biomaterials (bioglass and bioceramic and polymer) and biosensor technology. Dr Zhang has combined experienced in both academia (17 years) and industry (17 years). He is a materials physicist, undertaking his PhD and postdoctoral research at Cranfield University from 1999 to 1995 where he studied mechanics and nano/micro-fracture mechanics of toughening plastics. He carried on the research at the University of Cambridge in 1999, employing synchrotron radiation SAXS/WAXS to study in-situ deformation and fracture at nanometre scale on gamma-ray-irradiated polymers (polypropylene and PEEK- polyether ether ketone), and later tribology on carbon-nano film. Dr. Zhang’s industry experience was gained at Abbott starting from 1999, where, as Principal Scientist and, later in 2008 Principal Technologist, his work covered almost all aspects of medical materials/devices, from R&D and manufacturing support to product failure analysis.
- Hybrid Biocomposites
New generation of biomaterials needs fundamental understanding the relationship between nanostructure and properties, in particular nanocomposites that contain inorganic and organic constituents, and the extent to which each constituent affects biocompatibility and bioactivity in medical applications. Many natural materials are nanocomposites with good properties needed for living species on the earth. The question is what mechanisms operate on the nano-scale? Answers to this question will help in the future design and development of new biomaterials. Bone, which consists largely of natural collagen and hydroxyapatite, is a good example. Understanding the nano-characteristics and resulting biological responses of ‘smart’ composite biomaterials will be the key to develop safer and more effective synthetic products in the future.
- Hydroxyapatite Based Materials
Hydroxyapatite (HA) is a well known biomaterial ever used for medical applications since 1969. To make HA to be adapted by different biological species (like cells); we have to change its properties. This can be done by multi-substituting different elements, say >= 2, into HA crystals. As a result, we have changed the charge potential (positive or negative as well as the strength) and surface characteristics. It is now possible to make a series of new HA-based biomaterials by substituting different elements into HA to meet different application needs.
- Controlled Release Technology
Since the first polymer was studied for the controlled release technology (CRT) of drugs in the 1970s, drug safety and efficacy have been improved over the last 40 years. Due to complexity of drug or other active ingredients and delivery systems, polymer CRT has certain limitation and cannot meet all demanding applications like drugs that are difficult or very easy to be dissolved in the body fluid and those macromolecules like protein/peptide. We are developing new inorganic CRT, in particularly in combination with organic CRT, which will play important role for new drug development and reformulation of exiting drugs. There are not shortages of drugs in the world but smart drug delivery systems that can deliver drug/s in a controlled manner.
- Mini-medical Devices – Biosensors
Healthcare is seen increasingly expensive. Majority cost is for hospitals. To make people rely on hospitals less for diagnostics, biosensor technology for home use and POC is one way forward with advantage of speed, sensitivity and, above all, simplicity. With success of glucose biosensor, new biosensors research is in demanding for diagnostics of cholesterol, triglyceride, HbA1c (glycosylated haemoglobin), uric acid, lactate, H2O2, as well as blood gas.